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12:42 p.m. - December 28, 2005
What's This I See In My Mailbox??
In my role here at the College I have a lot of diverse functions.

Sometimes Iím knee deep in donor relations; sometimes I am working on tricky IRS issues for our donors, sometimes Iím dealing with prospect management and research.

And sometimes Iím in charge of the sheep dip.

However, a lot of what I do centers around the alumni and giving database, which has myriad data points that interrelate.

The most important data we have on our alumni, parents and friends is their address information. Without that, we canít mail to them, canít find them, canít do a lot. During this time of year, thatís quite crucial, because itís calendar year end and always our busiest time of the year.

So Iíve got about 11,000 active alumni and almost 60,000 records total to be worried about. (Now, Iím not usually worried about them because I trust for the most part that our data is correct. I am cleaning up about 1830 alumni that did not have phone numbers but in reality that turned out to be 800 phone numbers we could use Ė and I have 430 addresses left to check. Tedium is my life right now).

Iím in tune with databases, especially databases that generate mailings. I get amused when I get mail at our house addressed to:

ē My late father in law. While Liz was working on the estate, she had the mail forwarded to our house in Zionsville. Right now, the AARP is the only one that doesnít have a clue Ė and we told the AARP just a few days after he died that he passed on. HmmmmÖ.
ē My wifeís real first name.
ē My wifeís maiden name Ė which she hasnít used since 1994. (Sometimes, we get two pieces of mail, with my wifeís real first name AND another one with my wifeís maiden name. Hmmmm)
ē Multiple mailings from catalog houses, which always have some variations in my name (middle initial versus no middle initial).
ē Mailings from shady financial firms asking me to invest my spare millions in their hedge fund or subscribe to some shady publication that tells me how to own my own luxury yacht in 48 hours by investing in these hot stocks. I subscribe to some financial publications to keep up to date on what they have to say about charitable giving, so I guess they think I gots cash. Remember, thereís a NON in front of non-profit! And now I live in BFE land instead of posh-suburbia, but itís done nothing to quell these.

So far, no junk mail addressed to Katie or Kristin, yet.

What this is saying is that the above firms arenít really paying attention to their addresses, their customers, or their finances.

The AARP has sent me introductory mailings already (none for Liz, and sheís OLDER than I am). Around when I turned 40, they sent me something inviting me to join. Now, someone, somewhere must have mis-keyed a digit in my birth date. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. I looked at my profile on the search service (note: I can find out where YOU are and where you have been Ė but I only use it for forces of good and righteousness). I use and my birth year is right there. So I dunno where they got the idea I was born in 1955.

The one that really makes me chuckle is a mailing I received about three weeks ago.

It invited me to join the VFW.

Now, my Dad was in World War II, on the USS Enterprise. My grandfather fought in World War I. My brother and sister were in the military, and my sisterís ex-husband also was in the military for quite a while.

None of them have the same name as me, not even close.

I never had the chance to get drafted, never even thought of serving, really. The Army really, really tried to get me to enlist during high school. They said I had one of the highest test scores ever on whatever test they let me take. (My Dad thought it would be a good idea to hear what they had to say Ė but he knew Iíd never go. Besides, I weighed about 135 in high school and had the muscle tone of an anorexic gnat). Iím just not a military type of person, for many various and sundry reasons.

But the VFW definitely thinks I served, somewhere.

In this mailing, it greets me as a fellow veteran, and then asks me to fill out an information card. It asks me what branch I served in and what theater I served in.

Wait a minute.

If you guys are so smart and think I served, canít you figure out where I served and what branch I was in? Iíd love to see what THEY thought.

(I did notice that you had several options to list Ė from WWII, through Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. So the VFW is at least keeping up with the times.)

However, I have no idea that I was considered a vet. I think there are only five or six people with my name in the entire country. Certainly someone could have done some due diligence here!

Suppose the dude in Alabama is waiting for his VFW invitation on pins and needles, only to see that some pencil-necked geek in BFE Indiana got it?

I canít wait to see what comes next in my mailbox. Could it be junk mail for:

ē Zoroastrianís Weekly
ē The John Birch Baking Society
ē The Association of Sorcerers, Conjurers, and Alchemists
ē The Misanthropeís Support Group
ē Luddites Anonymous

I await the mail with baited breath!

 

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